Mauritius or the official Republic of Mauritius is an island country in the Indian Ocean. Spread over 197 square miles or 2,040 square kilometers, it is one of the smallest countries in the world. Mauritius is 560 kilometers east of Madagascar and about 2,270 kilometers from mainland Africa. The country is made of 4 islands – the main island of Mauritius, Agalega, St. Brandon, and Rodrigues.
Mauritius is small, but it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Stunning lagoons, sapphire waters, pristine beaches with many luxury resorts… you will find everything that makes this island country a paradise for nature lovers. Take a boat trip to the nearby islets or simply relax on the beach on a sun bed. There is water sport on the beach. Go for a swim in the turquoise blue coral waters. Often, small fish comes right up to the beach. Off the shore, there is world-class diving and snorkeling. Mauritius is one of the finest snorkeling and scuba diving destinations you can visit.
The country has a hilly interior with volcanic mountains, forests, waterfalls, and many beautiful hiking trails. The forests are teeming with wildlife. Mauritius has a rich bio-diversity, which you will appreciate best at the botanical gardens. Visit the Black River Gorges National Park and see the old colonial plantation houses. Port Louis is the political, economic, and cultural capital of Mauritius.
1.3 million Tourists visited Mauritius in 2017, making it a top destination in Africa. Mauritius will thrill you with its natural beauty, seascapes, adventure, food, wildlife, and cultural diversity. The country is today a glamorous getaway, but the real Mauritius with its traditional fishing villages are never far away.
Mauritius – Quick Facts
Mauritius is named after a person – Prince Maurits Van Nassau
Capital – Port Louis
Area – 197 square miles or 2,040 square kilometers
Population – 1,265,577 (2018 estimate)
Currency – Mauritian Rupee (MUR)
Driving side – Left
Time zone – UTC+4 (MUT)
2/3rd of the people are of Indo-Pakistani origin, who came as workers
600 indigenous species of trees. Home of the Dodo bird, now extinct
Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Brabant are UNESCO World Heritage sites
‘Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius’ – Mark Twain
Top 11 Reasons To Visit Mauritius
The 330 kilometer coastline has more than 100 beaches, most of them stunning. Choose from golden-hued coves with calm water to sandy white beaches. Many have water sports. There are romantic beaches for sunsets, and those in the south coast for kite surfing.
The country is surrounded by a colorful coral reef with 4,000 species of fish and shellfish. There are more than 100 ship wrecks, some of them from the 18th and 19th centuries. Cathedral is a famous dive site with caves and underwater arches. Ile Ronde has a submerged crater. Try snorkeling if you are not into diving. There are also glass-bottom boats and submarine tours.
Big game fishing. There is tuna, blue marlin, and even shark fishing. International big game fishing competitions are held in Mauritius.
There are many dolphins, thanks to the country’s temperate climate. These friendly creatures come here to reproduce. Take a dolphin cruise early in the morning just before sunrise on the west coast. Chance to swim with dolphins. You may even see whales.
Take a catamaran or ferry ride around the main island or go to the other islands – Ile de deux Cocos, Flat Island, Ile d’Ambre, Ilot Gabriel, Ile aux Aigrettes, Coin de Mire, and Ile au Ronde. There are also speed boat tours. Package includes lunch and snorkeling.
The Black River Gorges National park is a rainforest with many endemic flora and fauna. Chance to see rare birds like the echo parakeet and pink pigeon. There are waterfalls and beautiful hiking trails. More than 300 flowering species. Mauritius has many other nature reserves and botanical gardens worth visiting.
Golfing is a top sport in Mauritius. It was the world’s 3rd country where golf was played. One of the world’s first golf clubs. Many golf courses, including 9-hole courses, and championship courses with 18 holes that have been designed by leading golfers. GPS-equipped buggies, classes, stunning location with spectacular sea views.
Mauritius has a diverse culture, thanks to the Indian, Pakistani, French, and African influences. See the traditional Sega dance, traditionally African. It starts with gentle tunes and picks up as the tempo increases.
There is quad biking, mountain biking, zip lining, windsurfing, kite surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and horseback riding. Plenty of options to choose from.
One of the highlights. The food is influenced by African, Indian, French, and Asian kitchens that come together to form unique flavors. Rich choice of seafood.
Very good local markets where you will find fruits, vegetables, fish, spice, handicrafts, and street food.
Shopping Very good local markets where you will find fruits, vegetables, fish, spice, handicrafts, and street food.
Mauritius has 330 kilometers of shoreline, lagoons, soft sandy beaches, and coral reefs, home of many marine species including sharks, whales, dolphins, and the legendary blue marlin. Diving and snorkeling is among the best in the world. 100 plus shipwrecks.
How To Reach
There is only one practical way of reaching the country – by air. By sea, most are cargo ships.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is the biggest airport. It is 48 kilometers southeast from Port Louis.
There is a smaller Sir Gaetan Duval Airport on the Rodrigues Island.
Popularly referred to as the SSR International Airport, it is connected to the rest of the world Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Emirates, Kenya Airways, Lufthansa, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines, and others.
Air Mauritius is the local carrier. Thomas Cook, TUI Airways, Mahan Air, LOT Polish Airlines, and Eurowings operate charter flights in the peak tourist season.
You will find 3 bus services from the airport. The buses are regular, but it takes more than an hour to reach most places on the island. You will also find taxis outside the airport.
You will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months
You will also need a round trip ticket, confirmed accommodation, and should be able to show sufficient funds while on the island
You must also make a pledge not to engage in profit-making activities
Top Places To Visit In Mauritius
Grand Bay – Seaside beach village with 2 beaches. La Cuvette has beautiful powdery white sands. There are restaurants, cafes, bars, and many boutique stores. Grand Bay is famous for its restaurants and nightlife.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden – Many Victoria Amazonica lilies and exotic palm trees. Frequented by botanists. The talipot that blooms every 75 years can be found here.
Cap Malheureux – Small village with a picturesque red-roofed church. Admire its design and its location.
Maheswarnath Mandir at Triolet – The biggest Hindu temple, built in honor of Shiva, Vishnu, Muruga, Brahma and Ganesha.
Shopping – Visit Sunset Boulevard in Grand Bay. You can also shop at La Croisette and Super U. Pamplemousses, famous for gifts and souvenirs. Choose from jewelry, paintings and handicrafts. Goodlands Market – Many stalls and vendors. Textile and garments fairs are held every Tuesdays and Fridays. Fruits and vegetable stalls are open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Adventure – Cycling, sailing, diving and underwater activities at Cap Malheureux.
Islands – Visit the Northern Islets, Flat Island and Gabriel Island on a catamaran or speed boat. Round Island is another green nature reserve housing indigenous plants. Pointe aux Biches has an aquarium with 200 species of fish, corals, sponges, and sharks.
Las Vergers of Labourdonnais at Mapou – Home of many fruit trees and flowering plants. Visit the famous flower and plant market.
North Mauritius is most popular area to travel in Mauritius and has many stunning beaches like Trou aux Biches, Mont Choisy and the Pereybere public beach. Mont Choisy is the longest and the most popular beach for sunbathing and water activities.
Blue Bay – Many consider this the best beach for snorkeling and swimming in the country. White sandy beach in a marine park with many rare corals.
Chamarel - in Rivière Noire District Chamarel is a village in Mauritius. Explore the world famous The seven-cooured earth attraction and discover the best time and places to visit.
Le Morne – A peninsula in the extreme southwestern tip of the island. The Aapravasi Ghats, a World Heritage site is located here. Le Morne stands for freedom from slavery. Many escaped slaves stayed in the rugged, high mountains. There are many activities like hiking, gliding, and kite surfing.
La Prairie – Big stretch of beach next to grassland. Quiet bays with shallow water. Popular for windsurfing and kite surfing. Picnic area.
Riambel – Also called Pomponette Beach or Roches Beach, it is just 200 meters from a coral reef. The water is calm and shallow. The sandy sea floor reflects sunlight, providing high visibility.
Ganga Talao – is a lake found in the highland plains of Mauritius and it is also one of the most sacred places for Hindus outside of India.
Black River Gorges – It is the largest national park in hilly south-western part of Mauritius. The Park famous for its waterfalls, vistas and hiking.
Ile aux Cerfs – A precious little jewel Island with attractive boat-house, restaurants and long beaches. Located out from Trou d’Eau Douce is a must-see in the Mauritian tourism landscape.
Trou d’Eau Douce – The beach is located in the town of Trou d’Eau Douce, in the east part of Mauritius. Mauritius beach situated in the Flacq district.
Belle Mare – A stunning tree-lined beach with soft white sand. It is a shallow bay, protected by coral reefs. Crystal clear water. One of the best beaches for swimming and snorkeling. Sun beds with umbrellas.
Paul and Virginie Monument at Poudre D’or – Inspired by the shipwreck of St Geran, a folklore.
Poste Lafayette - The beach is an excellent place for fishing and breathing in the crisp air with two very popular summer resorts.
Bras d’Eau – It is a small bay inside the lagoon of Poste Lafayette. Also a best place in Mauritius to see the Milky Way.
Flacq - It is a most important village in Mauritius, with a colourful open-air markets and historic building.
Port Louis – The political, cultural and economic capital. Port Louis is rich in heritage, the perfect mix of past and present. With 149,194 residents (2015), it is also the country’s largest city. During French and English occupation Port Louis was considered the ‘star of the Indian Ocean’.
Flic en Flac – Seaside village with quiet and relaxing beaches and lagoons. Many hotels, upscale resorts, restaurants, and shops.
A country with a population of 1.3 million, Mauritius received 1.34 million international tourists in 2017. More tourists than locals!
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The Best Time To Visit Mauritius
The best time to visit Mauritius is between May and December when it is sunnier, dryer, and cooler. This is the winter season in this island country. In the summer season, you will usually have humid and hot days. Avoid the wet cyclone season between January and March. You may also get strong winds in the east coast between July and August.
May To December – Start of the winter season. Mild and pleasant weather with the max temperature around 24-26 degrees, and the minimum dropping to 18. Visit the islands, spend time at the beach, enjoy water sports, and see the wildlife of Mauritius.
January To April – Summer season with fewer tourists. The daytime temperature can reach up to 33 degrees on some days. The humidity will also be high. However, you will get cheaper deals. Keep an umbrella as it may rain frequently. January to March is the cyclone season.
Travel Tips For First Time In Mauritius
Currency – Mauritian Rupee (MUR) is the country’s currency. You can have it exchanged at the airport, at the many banks throughout the island, and also with the exchange vendors. However, USD is widely accepted from tourists. 1 USD is about 36 Mauritian Rupees.
Clothing – It’s best to bring only cotton clothing – t-shirts and shorts. But some hotels ask for formal clothing for dinner. You will also need a sunglass, cap or hat, and of course, your swimwear. Carry sunscreens, mosquito repellents, and tissues.
Language – Creole is the most popular language. But most locals know English, especially in the touristy and resort areas. However, it is best to talk a bit slowly with the locals.
Tipping – This has become common practice in recent years after the tourism boom. You will find a tip box in many hotels and restaurants. The money collected is distributed among all the employees.
Internet – Emtel and Orange are the major providers. The internet service is good. You will get free WiFi at all good hotels.